We finally know why Spec Ops: The Line was delisted — it’s the licensing. Video game newshound Wario64 first sounded the alarm on social media that the game had been removed from Steam and other PC storefronts seemingly without explanation.
On X, Cory Davis, the game’s designer and director, was also out of the loop asking the game’s publisher 2K why this happened. “Makes no sense,” Davis wrote. “Especially because the themes portrayed in [Spec Ops: The Line] are more relevant now than ever.”
In an email to The Verge, 2K communications director Joe DiMiero offered the reason for the game’s removal:
Spec Ops: The Line will no longer be available on online storefronts, as several partnership licenses related to the game are expiring. Players who have purchased the game can still download and play the game uninterrupted. 2K would like to thank our community of players who have supported the game, and we look forward to bringing you more offerings from our label throughout this year and beyond.
The licenses referenced likely have to do with the game’s music. During the The Line’s menu screen, Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” can be heard while the game’s soundtrack includes Martha and The Vandellas’ “Nowhere to Run.”